High energy bill? Small changes can cut it in half


Jose Morales has a small, lovely home in Claremont, but his energy bill used to be downright ugly.

"I had an electrical bill in the summertime of $295," he said.

His monthly bills would range above $200. Morales was able to make his home more energy efficient. After he did that, he cut his bill by more than half.

"Our first clean bill was approximately $105," Morales said.

Stan Mueller is an energy adviser with Southern California Edison. He walked me through Morales' house showing me how much money you too can save with each energy efficient improvement in your home.

"If you're looking at 10 lights and they're incandescent and you replace them with either LED lights or compact fluorescents, you can save up to $20 a month in energy savings," he said.

"Television sets can make a difference in your home," he added. "If you're considering purchasing a new one, consider an LCD. Compared to a plasma, you can save up to $60 a year."

If your heating bill is through the roof, look to your ceiling to save. Insulation in the ceiling can save $200 or more per year.

You know all those clocks and computers and other electronics that are plugged in? They're sucking up power even when not in use. Turn them off and you'll save $50 a year.

Another energy drain is windows that let the heat out.

"If you actually replace your single-pane windows with double-pane windows you can save up to $100 to $400 on an annual basis," Mueller said.

Did you know air conditioning is the most expensive energy user in the house? It doesn't have to be.

"Raising the thermostat to 78 degrees or above will help you save money," Mueller said. "You can save 20 to 40 percent on your air conditioning costs. If you have a $100 air conditioning bill, that's $20, $40 cut off right there.

That's saving anywhere from $240 to $480 in a year."

Here's the best part of all: you don't even have to spend all of your own money for improvements. Morales used free money available from the Energy Upgrade California program.

"We work with you, bring contractors in who we've trained to look for energy saving opportunities in the home, and they'll help you get between $1,000, maybe even $4,000 to help buy down the costs of these upgrades."

Let's total up our savings. Based on the size of Morales' home at 1,300 square feet, your savings would be $890 per year by making those changes. A larger home will bring even larger savings.

We want to hear from you, too! What tips do you have to save real money? Post them on Ric Romero's Facebook page at facebook.com/abc7ric.

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